Dick and DollyŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
The days passed happily at Dana Dene.
There was so much to do, with the gardens and the chickens, and going for afternoon drives that, except on rainy days, the children were out of doors nearly all the time.
Their big boxes had arrived, and Dollyís dolls, and Dickís more boyish treasures, were up in the playroom, but were often neglected for open-air fun.
It had been decided by the aunties that the twins should not go to school until Fall, for the term was within a few weeks of closing, and it didnít seem worth while to start. But they were required to practise on the piano an hour each day, and a teacher came once a week to give them lessons. The Misses Dana were fond of music, and as they thought the twins showed some talent, they insisted on its cultivation, though Dick and Dolly looked upon their practice hour as drudgery.
They always practised at the same time, if possible, in order to have their play hours together. If they had been practising duets, this plan might have been fairly agreeable to the other members of the household. But the nine-year-old twins had not yet arrived at the dignity of ďpieces,Ē and were confined to scales and five-finger exercises.
Their scales usually started on harmonious notes, but Dollyís little fingers flew along the keyboard so much faster than Dickís that she usually finished her scale on the highest notes, and drummed away there until his chubby hands came up and caught her.
This, though a satisfactory plan to the performers, was far from pleasant to the sensitive ears of the Dana aunties.
Again, in case of five-finger exercises, they divided the piano fairly, and then diligently pursued their ďone-and, two-and, three-andĒ quite irrespective of each other.
As they were careful not to infringe on one anotherís territory, they saw no objection to this arrangement, and quite in despair, the aunts would close the doors of the drawing-room, where the musicians were, and retire to the farthest corners of the house.
There was, of course, great temptation for the twins to neglect their task, and chatter, but they were too conscientious for this.
Neither would have considered it honourable to remove their hands from the keys during practice hour. So the little fingers diligently worked up and down, but the counting often gave way to conversation. Instead of ďone-and,Ē Dolly might say, in time with her counting, ďDonít you, Ė think the, Ė poles will, Ė come to-, Ė day, Dick?Ē And Dick would pound away, as he replied, ďYes, Pat, Ė said they, Ė sure would, Ė come to, Ė day-ay.Ē
Thus a staccato conversation could be kept up while the twenty stiff little fingers were acquiring proper limberness and skill.
ďItís enough to drive anybody frantic! I canít stand it!Ē said Aunt Abbie, as one day she listened to the measured chatter, and its accompaniment of pounded keys that didnít chord.
ďI canít either!Ē declared Aunt Rachel, ďand Iíve made up my mind, Abbie, what to do.
Weíll get another piano,†Ė a second-hand one will do,†Ė and put it up in the playroom. Then they can practise separately.Ē
ďYe-es,Ē said Miss Abbie, doubtfully; ďbut they wouldnít like that. They always want to be together.Ē
ďWell, theyíll have to stand it. Itís enough to ruin their musical ear, to hear those discords themselves.Ē
ďThatís true. I suppose your plan is a good one.Ē
So a second piano was bought, and put up in the playroom, and the twins had to do their practising separately, except for a few little duet exercises, which their teacher kindly gave them. And it must be confessed they made better progress than when they combined practising and social conversation.
In addition to the hour for music, Dolly was required to spend an hour every day, sewing.
The Misses Dana believed in that old-fashioned accomplishment, and put the child through a regular course of overhanding, felling, and hemming, insisting on great neatness and accuracy of stitches.
This hour caused Dolly a great many sighs, and even a few tears. She didnít like needlework, and it was so hard to keep her stitches even and true.
But the real hardship was that Dick didnít have to sew also. It didnít seem fair that she should work so hard for an hour, while he was free to play or do what he chose.
She remarked this to Aunt Rachel, who saw the justice of the argument, and thought it over.
ďThatís true, in a way,Ē she responded. ďThere isnít any occupation so necessary for a boy to learn, as for a girl to learn sewing, but I think that Dick should have a corresponding task.Ē
So it was arranged that for an hour every day, Dick must do work in the garden. Real work, not just fun. He was to weed both his own and Dollyís flower-beds, and mow the grass and trim the hedges in their playground, and water the plants, if necessary; in short, do the drudgery work of the garden, while Dolly plodded along at her sewing.
This plan worked finely, and sometimes Dick had the playground in such perfect order that he could put in his hour weeding or mowing the other parts of the lawn. Aunt Rachel bought a small lawn-mower for his use, and under Patís instructions his hourís hard work each day taught him much of the real science of gardening.
When the twins had been at Dana Dene a week, they had as yet made no acquaintances beside Jack Fuller. This had happened only because the ladies had not found it convenient to take the children to call elsewhere, and Dick and Dolly themselves had been so wrapped up in their gardens and other joys that they had not cared for outside companionship.
Pat had sent for extra long poles, that their playhouse might be of goodly size. When these came, and were put in place, the tent-shaped arbour was about ten feet by twenty, which was amply large for their purpose. Vines were planted at once, both seeds and cuttings, but of course it would be several weeks before the leaves would form a green roof for them.
However, the sun was not unpleasantly warm in May, and by June or July the leafy roof would be a protection.
In the meantime, Aunt Abbie, who was most ingenious, planned a cosy arrangement for them. In one corner of their playground, Michael built them a table. This had a section of a felled tree trunk for an upright, on which was placed a round top.
From the centre of the table top rose a stout, straight stick, with leather loops nailed on it at intervals. Into these loops could be thrust the handle of a very large Japanese umbrella, which, opened, made a gay and festive-looking roof, and which could be taken into the house in case of rain.
Benches and rustic chairs Michael made for them, too, and Dick helped, being allowed to use his ďwork-hourĒ for this.
As the playground achieved all these comforts, it became a most delightful place, and the children spent whole days there.
Sometimes, good-natured Hannah would bring their dinner out there, and let them eat it under the gay umbrella.
Aunt Abbie gave them a fine garden swing, as she had promised.
This was one of those wooden affairs that will hold four comfortably, but except for Jack Fuller, none but the twins had yet used it.
Aunt Rachelís gift proved to be a fountain.
This was quite elaborate, and had to be set up by workmen who came from town for the purpose. It was very beautiful, and added greatly to the effect of the playground. When the weather grew warmer they were to have goldfish in it, but at present there were aquatic plants and pretty shells and stones.
It was small wonder that the children didnít feel need of other companionship, and had it not been for Jack Fuller, Dolly would never have thought of being lonely.
She and Dick were such good chums that their company was quite sufficient for each other; but when Jack came over to play, he and Dick were quite apt to play boyish games that Dolly didnít care for.
On such occasions she usually brought out her doll-carriage and one or two of her favourite dolls, and played by herself.
And so, it happened, that one afternoon when Dick and Jack were playing leap-frog, Dolly wandered off to the wood with Arabella and Araminta in the perambulator. She never felt lonely in the wood, for there were always the squirrels and birds, and always a chance that she might see a fairy.
So, with her dolls, she had company enough, and sitting down by a big flat rock, she set out a table with acorn cups and leaves for plates, and tiny pebbles for cakes and fruit.
Arabella and Araminta had already been seated at the table, and Dolly was talking for them and for herself, as she arranged the feast.
ďNo, Arabella,Ē she said; ďyou canít have any jelly pudding to-day, dear, for you are not very well. You must eat bread and milk, and here it is.Ē
She set an acorn cup in front of the doll, and then turned to prepare Aramintaís food, when she saw a little girl coming eagerly toward her.
It was a pretty little girl, about her own age, with dark curls, and a pink linen frock.
ďHello,Ē she said, softly, ďI want to play with you.Ē
ďCome on,Ē said Dolly, more than pleased to have company. ďSit right down at the table. Thereís a place. I fixed it for Mr. Grey Squirrel, but he didnít come.Ē
ďI didnít bring my doll,Ē said the little girl in pink, ďI Ė I came away in a hurry.Ē
ďIíll lend you one of mine,Ē said Dolly. ďTheyíre Arabella and Araminta; take your choice.Ē
ďWhatís your own name?Ē said the visitor, as she picked up Araminta.
ďDolly,†Ė Dolly Dana. Whatís yours?Ē
ďI donít want to tell you,Ē said the little girl, looking confused.
ďNever mind,Ē said Dolly, sorry for her guestís evident embarrassment, but thinking her a very strange person. ďIíll call you Pinkie, ícause your dress is such a pretty pink.Ē
ďAll right,Ē said Pinkie, evidently much relieved.
ďYouíre not Ė youíre not a fairy, are you?Ē said Dolly, hopefully, yet sure she wasnít one.
ďOh, no,Ē said Pinkie, laughing. ďIím just a little girl, but I Ė I ran away, and so I donít want to tell you my name.Ē
ďOh, I donít care,Ē said Dolly, who was always willing to accept a situation. ďNever mind about that. Letís play house.Ē
ďYes; letís. You keep this place, ícause youíve fixed your table so nice, and Iíll live over here.Ē
Pinkie selected another choice spot for her home, and soon the two families were on visiting terms.
Dolly and her daughter, Arabella, went to call on Pinkie and her daughter, Araminta, and as they had already selected the names of Mrs. Vandeleur and Mrs. Constantine, their own names didnít matter anyway.
Dolly was Mrs. Vandeleur, because she thought that title had a very grand sound, and Pinkie chose Mrs. Constantine because she had just come to that name in her ďOutlines of the Worldís History,Ē and thought it was beautiful.
So Mrs. Vandeleur rang the bell at Mrs. Constantineís mansion, and sent in two green leaves, which were supposed to be the visiting cards of herself and her daughter.
ďCome in, come in,Ē said Mrs. Constantine, in a high-pitched voice. ďIím so glad to see you. Wonít you sit down?Ē
Dolly sat down very elegantly on the root of a tree, and propped Arabella against another.
ďIím just going to have supper,Ē said the hostess, ďand I hope you and your daughter will give me the pleasure of your company.Ē
ďThank you. I will stay, but I must go íway right after dessert. I have an engagement with Ė with the fairies.Ē
ďOh, how lovely! Are you going to see them dance?Ē
ďYes,Ē said Dolly, greatly pleased to learn that Pinkie believed in fairies; ďthey sent me a special invitation.Ē
ďIíll go with you,Ē said Mrs. Constantine, promptly. ďIím always invited to their dances.Ē
So again the acorn cups and leaves came into use, and the four drank unlimited cups of tea, and ate all sorts of things, Arabella having apparently recovered from her indisposition.
ďNow, weíll go to the fairiesí ball,Ē said Pinkie, as with a sweep of her hand she cleared the table of dishes and viands and all. ďWhat shall we wear?Ē
ďIíll wear red velvet,Ē said Dolly, whose tastes were gay, ďand a wide light-blue sash, and gold slippers.Ē
ďYouíll look lovely,Ē declared Mrs. Constantine. ďIíll wear spangled blue satin, and a diamond crown.Ē
ďThen Iíll have a diamond crown, too,Ē said Dolly.
ďNo; you have a ruby one. We donít want to be just alike.Ē
ďYes, Iíll have a ruby one, and my daughter can have a diamond one, and your daughter a ruby one,†Ė then weíll be fair all around.Ē
ďYes, thatís fair,Ē agreed Pinkie; ďnow letís start.Ē
They carried the dolls with them, and going a little farther into the wood, they selected a smooth, mossy place where fairies might easily dance if they chose.
ďWe must fix it up for them,Ē said Pinkie; ďso theyíll want to come.Ē
Eagerly the two girls went to work. They picked up any bits of stick or stone that disfigured the moss, and then, at Pinkieís direction, they made a circular border of green leaves, and what few wild flowers they could find.
A row of stones was laid as an outside border, and a branch of green was stuck upright in the centre.
ďNow it looks pretty,Ē said Pinkie, with a nod of satisfaction. ďLetís sit down and wait.Ē
ďWill they really come?Ē asked Dolly, as with Araminta and Arabella they seated themselves near by.
ďOh, no, I sípose not,Ē said Pinkie, with a little sigh. ďIíve done this thing so many times, and they never have come. But itís fun to do it, and then I always think perhaps they may.Ē
But they waited what seemed a long time, and as no fairies came to dance, and the shadows began to grow deeper, Dolly said she must go home.
ďYes, I must too,Ē said Pinkie, looking troubled.
ďSee here, Dolly,Ē she said, as they walked along; ďdonít you want to come here and play with me again?Ē
ďíCourse I do,Ē exclaimed Dolly. ďEvery day.Ē
ďWell, you canít do it, unless you keep it secret. You mustnít tell anybody,†Ė not anybody in the world.Ē
ďNot even Dick and the aunties?Ē
ďNo, not anybody. If you tell, we canít play here.Ē
ďPinkie, are you a fairy, after all?Ē said Dolly, looking at her earnestly.
She was quite unable, otherwise, to think of any reason to keep their acquaintance secret.
ďWell Ė maybe I am,Ē said Pinkie, slowly.
ďAnd thatís why you havenít any name!Ē exclaimed Dolly, rapturously. ďBut I didnít sípose real fairies were so big, and so ízactly like little girls.Ē
ďReal fairies arenít. Iím just a Ė just a sort of a fairy. Oh, Dolly, donít ask questions. Only, remember, if you tell anybody about me, we canít play here in the woods any more. Will you promise?Ē
ďYes, Iíll promise,Ē said Dolly, solemnly, awed by Pinkieís great earnestness.
And then they separated, and Dolly ran home with her dolls.
Dolly was very quiet after she reached home. She was greatly puzzled at the events of the afternoon.
ďOf course,Ē she thought, ďPinkie couldnít be a fairy. She is just as much a live little girl as I am. And yet, why should any nice little girl,†Ė and she surely is a very nice little girl,†Ė want our acquaintance kept secret?Ē
Dolly remembered a little girl in Chicago, who loved to have ďsecrets,Ē but they were very simple affairs, usually a new slate pencil, or a coming birthday party. She had never heard of such a foolish secret as not telling your name!
And so, the thought would come back; what if Pinkie should be a real fairy? To be sure, she had always thought fairies were tiny folk, but she had never seen one, so how could she know?
And Pinkie was so well versed in making a fairiesí dancing ground, and she appeared so mysteriously,†Ė apparently from nowhere at all! Oh, if it should be! And then, that would explain the secret part of it,†Ė for fairies always want to be kept secret. But on the other hand, that pink kilted dress of starched linen! Fairies always wore gauzy robes, and carried wands, and had wings. Well, yes, that was the popular notion, but who had seen them, to know for sure?
These thoughts chased through Dollyís mind as she sat at the supper table, and Aunt Rachel soon noticed the childís absorption.
ďWhatís the matter, dearie?Ē she asked; ďarenít you well?Ē
ďOh, yes, Auntie; I Ė I was just thinking.Ē
ďI know whatís the matter with Dollums,Ē said Dick, a little shamefacedly. ďItís ícause Jack Fuller and I played leap-frog and things she didnít like, and so she went off by herself, and was lonesome. Iím sorry, Dolly.Ē
ďWhy, Dick Dana!Ē exclaimed his twin; ďit wasnít that a bit! Iím glad you had fun with Jack, and I didnít care a spick-speck! I had a lovely time myself.Ē
ďWhere were you, dear?Ē asked Aunt Abbie.
ďIn the wood, with my two big dolls,Ē said Dolly, truthfully, but she had a strange feeling of dishonesty.
She had never had a secret before; had never told anything except the whole truth; and the part truth, as she had told it now, troubled her conscience.
Yet she had promised Pinkie not to tell about her, so whether Pinkie was fairy or little girl, Dolly felt herself bound by her promise.
ďAuntie,Ē she said, after a pause, ďare there really fairies?Ē
ďNo, child, of course not. You know there arenít.Ē
ďYes, I sípose so. But if there were any, how big would they be?Ē
ďDonít ask silly questions, Dolly. There are no such beings as fairies.Ē
ďOh, I donít know, Aunt Rachel,Ē put in Dick. ďYou know, just because weíve never seen any,†Ė that doesnít prove there arenít any.Ē
ďBut how big would they be, Dick?Ē persisted Dolly.
ďOh, little bits of things. A dozen of them could dance on a toad-stool, I expect.Ē
That settled it in Dollyís mind. Of course Pinkie wasnít a fairy then, for what Dick said was always so.
But Aunt Abbie changed the situation. She had more imagination than Aunt Rachel, and she idly fell into the discussion.
ďIím not sure of that, Dick,Ē she said. ďI always imagine fairies to be about our own size. You know Cinderellaís fairy godmother was a grown-up lady.Ē
ďOh,Ē said Dolly, her eyes shining with interest. ďThen do you think, Aunt Abbie, that there could be a little girl fairy, about as big as me?Ē
ďWhy, yes, I suppose so; if there are fairies at all. But Iím not sure that there are.Ē
ďWould you believe it if you saw one?Ē
ďYes, if I were awake, and sure I was not dreaming.Ē
Dolly stared at Aunt Abbie, as if fascinated by her words. Then Pinkie might be a fairy, after all!
ďYouíre a queer child, Dolly,Ē said Aunt Rachel, looking at the little girlís perplexed face. ďAnd when you find your fairies, donít bring them in the house, for thereís no knowing what tricks they may cut up. Theyíre said to be mischievous little people.Ē
ďOf course theyíre little,Ē argued Dick. ďI think youíre mistaken about Cinderellaís godmother, Aunt Abbie. I think she was a little mite of a lady.Ē
ďPerhaps so, Dicky. Iím not much of an authority on fairy lore, Iíll admit.Ē
And then, somehow, the matter was dropped, and nothing more was said about fairies or their probable size.
But a little later, when the twins were alone in their playroom, Dolly reopened the subject.
ďDick,Ē she began, ďwhy do you think fairies must be little?Ē
ďDolly, whatís the matter with you and your fairies? Why are you bothering so much about íem all of a sudden?Ē
ďOh, nothing; I just want to know.Ē
ďIt isnít nothing! Have you been seeing fairies, or what? Youíve got to tell me all about it.Ē
ďI canít, Dick.Ē
ďYou canít? Why not, Iíd like to know! We never have secrets from each other. You know we donít.Ē
ďBut I canít tell you about this. I promised.Ē
ďWell, unpromise then! Whoíd you promise?Ē
ďI canít tell you that either.Ē
ďLook here, Dolly Dana, who could you promise not to tell me anything? Was it Pat or Michael?Ē
ďThen who was it?Ē
ďI canít tell you.Ē
ďPooh, what a silly! Why, Dolly, weíre twins,†Ė we always have to tell each other everything.Ē
ďI know it, Dick, and I want to tell you, awful, but you know yourself itís wrong to break a promise.Ē
ďWell, you might tell me who you promised it to.Ē
ďThatís part of the secret.Ē
ďOho, it is a secret, is it? Well, Dolly Dana, if youíve got a secret from me, you can keep it, óI donít care!Ē
This was too much for Dollyís loyal little twin-heart.
ďI donít want to keep it, Dick; I want to tell you! But I promised her I wouldnít, so what can I do?Ē
ďGet her to let you off your promise. I sípose itís Hannah or Delia.Ē
ďMaybe I can do that,Ē and Dollyís face looked a little brighter.
ďWell, do; and donít talk any more about it, till you can tell me all of it, whatever it is. Dolly, it isnít anything wrong, is it?Ē
ďNo; I donít see how it can be wrong.Ē
ďThen let up on it, till youíre ready to talk square. I never had a secret from you.Ē
ďI know it; and Iíll never have one from you again!Ē
So peace was restored, and Dolly said no more about fairies. But after she was tucked up in her own little white bed that night, she lay awake in the darkness for a long time, trying to puzzle it all out. One minute it would seem too absurd to think a little girl was a fairy; the next minute, it would seem just as absurd for a little girl to appear in the woods like that, and refuse to tell her name, and insist that their acquaintance be kept a secret! That was exactly what a fairy would do!ŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
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